Only Four Left? 1977 Ford Cruising Van

When a movement becomes popular enough, it’s not long until the big OEMs decide to get in on the fun and start offering a factory version of what individual customizers and the aftermarket have been building all along. In the case of van culture, the popularity of otherwise rudimentary work vans with the van-life community prompted Ford and Dodge, in particular, to begin building vehicles with warrantees that spoke to these audiences. In the case of Ford, the company rolled out its Cruising Wagon and Cruising Van, otherwise known as a Pinto and a Ford E-Series. This example listed here on eBay is the latter, and the seller claims it’s one just four left.

The Cruising Van was a simple concept that provided consumers the eye candy necessary to stop in at their local Ford dealer, but it didn’t go so far that further customization wasn’t possible. A porthole window, special graphics, shag carpeting, unique wheels, and a roof rack all came standard on the van, and the seller notes that these features remain intact on this example. The 351 V8 is also numbers matching, and it does still run – but it’s not exactly turnkey at the moment. It needs a new ignition switch and it’s running off a gas can fed directly into the carb.

Image courtesy of Flickr user SenseiAlan

Now, here’s one thing throwing me for a loop. The graphics still look pretty fresh on our subject car, despite the silver paint being seriously faded and sunburnt. The stripes also aren’t quite correct, at least according to this original photograph. The van on eBay is just a basic “L” shape, while the original design has more of a slope that starts from the back of the van – not just inside of the rear pillar like it does on the ’77 that’s for sale. It could be a moot point, or perhaps Ford utilized more than one stripe design.

Based on this video segment featuring Jeff Dunham and his Cruising Van restoration project, there were two designs for the iconic side stripes. His has the same look at the van on eBay, so that mystery can be put to rest. The interior of the Cruising Van looks quite clean, and can either be used as-is for the time being or taken to the next level for the ultimate homage to 70s van culture. If the seller is correct that only a handful of these Cruising Vans still survive, this could be a rare opportunity to own a factory-built boogie van.

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Comments

  1. dirtyharry

    One benefit of living in a van is you can go basically anywhere under “house arrest.”

    I worked for a van conversion company for a couple of years in the 70’s. We couldn’t build them fast enough. Saw some terrible air brush “art work” too. A devil, on a unicorn, throwing lightning bolts and other stuff that didn’t even make sense.

    Like 15
  2. boxdin

    I owned a van conversion company for 20 years and I have seen at least 4 Crusin Vans for sale just this year. Ford made thousands of these so there are more than a few left.

    Like 11
  3. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Where did the seller get their information from? Registrations worldwide? C’mon, what sucker believes that low number. The interior looks incredible compared to the outside. Noted also, besides the stripes begin different on the magazine ad, the porthole window on the subject vehicle is completely flat, not convex.

    Like 4
  4. Sherminator

    “One of four currently listed on e-Bay.” There, I fixed his statement…

    Like 8
  5. K

    I think that’s 1976 “Cruising Van” by the L shaped stripe package

    Like 1
    • K

      or 1975

  6. Christopher Gentry

    I THINK I read some place recently that ford did a stripe package for the “protype ” but ended up with a simpler design for production. That may explain the difference from the add to reality.

    Like 1
  7. sirlurxalot

    There’s one like in the Ford ad in the New Orleans area in nice shape.

  8. Moe Moe Member

    DirtyHarry , Boxdin.
    Cut my teeth with Van Conversion paint. Lol
    Where did you guys work back then?

    • dirtyharry

      “Star Vans” on Whittier Blvd., when it still had 500 cars cruising on the weekends. Whittier Blvd WAS a famous cruise spot with a large Bob’s drive in at the west end.

  9. boxdin

    Van World Inc in Albuquerque wish I could post a pic.

    Like 1
  10. cidevco Member

    Worked at Tripper Vans in Santa Ana California for a few years back in the 1970’s. Good times when you were 16 working for a van company delivering their vans wearing Hang 10 T Shirts, Bell Bottoms and Wallabes

    Keep on truckin’

    Like 3
  11. Farhvergnugen

    Livin’ in a van, under a bridge down by the river…

    Like 2
  12. Rosco

    Neat old van, but would have been nice to see the real rust areas mentioned under windshield and back window. Don’t think it’s 100% original as it looks like the stripes have been redone and painted on. As for there being only 4 remaining, not even close, bud!

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